Year 9 Parliament Day

On Wednesday 23rd November 2016 we welcomed Roz Birch, Parliament’s Outreach Officer for the South West, for a series of workshops with Year 9 known as Parliament Day.

Beginning with assembly, Roz spoke to students about her role of getting young people into politics and the importance of helping students develop their understanding of democracy and Parliament.

She briefly explained the history of the Houses and exactly how laws come about; from their original Bill format, to being officially signed into being by the Queen.

Following the assembly, Year 9 were split into workshops where they worked with Roz on their skills in the art of debating, holding a House of Commons style ‘debate’ on the issue of lowering the voting age. Bella Taylor, who was elected Student Representative at the Mock Elections in 2015, chaired the debate as Speaker.

Students come forward with a number of interesting conflicting opinions:

“They’re making decisions on our future – we should have a say!” – “But would we be able to handle the responsibility?”

“Maybe our parents should be able to put our names forward” – “But would they have control of our vote?”

“Young people are too easily influenced by the media these days.”

“16 year olds can leave home and get married – surely they can vote too!”

Mrs Stevens said: “Throughout the day I was so impressed by the students’ attitude to learning what is ultimately quite a heavy topic, and also their input and ideas. They clearly have big visions for the future of democracy and demonstrated a real understanding of their role in society today.”